By Nodyia Fedrick. Wilkes-Barre Times Leader
Thanks to Pam Masi of Bear Creek, a portion of a dilapidated downtown Wilkes-Barre building that used to employ strippers and bouncers is now refurbished as an ice cream shop dubbed Dairy Godmother’s. Masi, originally from East Rutherford, N.J., also owns and operates two Bear Creek businesses, Pamela’s Ice Cream and Cosenza’s Pizza, which she took over in 2004 after her father retired. All three of the shops are family owned and operated along with employees who she considers part of her family.
“In 2000 I wouldn’t have been caught dead here,” said Masi, but she took notice of the improvements and the changing scenery of downtown.
Even five years ago, “I saw things you wouldn’t want your kids to see,” she said. But now the environment has improved.
The shop is in a building that housed the Toppers strip club.
“Nothing changes overnight,” Masi said, but her improvements to the block and upbeat outlook on the patrons are confirmation changes are in motion. She said the Wilkes-Barre Movies 14 on Northampton Street, which she can see from her shop’s sliding glass window, spurred a lot of the changes. She said the movie crowd, coupled with the downtown crowd, has helped sales in the first month of operation.
She said her business and people skills are helping to spur return customers.
“I love people … there’s a lost art on how to treat people,” Masi explained.
The ice cream shop offers more than 30 different soft serve flavors along with Turkey Hill ice cream and chili dogs. Eventually the plan is to expand the menu with items that can be found at Cosenza’s Pizza.
There is currently no seating, but Masi hopes to change that in the future. The shop is open seven days a week until early autumn. Depending on response from Wilkes and King’s students, Dairy Godmother’s may remain open later in the year.